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Tom Chaney: R736: Thinking about Christmas

Tom Chaney, Of Writers and Their Books. R736, JThinking about Christmas , first appeared in the Hart County News-Herald on 12 November 2006
The next earlier Tom Chaney Of Writers and Their Books column, Tom Chaney: No. R735. John Grisham - creative imagination

By Tom Chaney

Thinking about Christmas

I know that Halloween has just passed. We are thinking now of Thanksgiving turkey. I don't want to see Christmas decorations before December 1st.

But let us think about Christmas for family and friends for a bit. It is never too early to plan.

Why not consider rare or out-of-print books for a holiday surprise for that special cousin? Or sister? Or parent? Or child?

When it comes to prized holiday gifts, it pays to think outside the book. Imagine your brother's delight when he unwraps the exact edition of The Boxcar Children he devoured as a kid. Think of how happy your best friend will be when she discovers Toni Morrison's signature inside a beloved copy of Beloved.

From cookbooks to travelogues, and from celebrities to theologians, collectible books are sure to make the coming holidays extra special!

In looking over the shelves at The Bookstore a couple of days ago, I spotted a number of books which will make for fine presents for the holidays.

Jesse Stuart, prolific writer from eastern Kentucky, died a couple of decades ago. Many of us remember Christmases made delightful by Taps for Private Tussie or The Thread That Runs So True.

At least two books - fine first editions - occupy a place just waiting for the perfect owner. They are The Year of My Rebirth, the story of Stuart's recovery from a massive heart attack and My Land Has a Voice, wherein he leads us on a tour of his land, along mountain paths through meadows and cornfields. This small part of America becomes, through the magic of his telling, the whole wide world. And Stuart signed these very books with dedications to his friends.

And if climbing the mountains of eastern Kentucky is not your cup of tea, then travel the length of the state to the Pennyrile section. There dwells the fiction of Bobbie Ann Mason whose stories continue to delight. Her 1988 novel, Spence + Lila deals with a family's pain but is a celebration of married love as moving as a country hymn, as pleasurable as wildflowers. Our copy is signed by Mason.

These are just a couple of authors whose signed books may be found waiting as holiday gifts.

A scan of our Kentucky shelves will yield rich results in the search for delightful presents.

I suggest the lovely book of fine poems by Charlie Williams -Asparagus Seems Deaf. And his cookbook, Out of Green River Kitchens, is a delight to read and taste.

The Kentucky writer, Janice Holt Giles, left us a legacy of Kentucky stories from The Believers about the South Union Shakers to Run Me a River --steam boating on the Green in the time before the Civil War.

The browser can find many first editions of old friends. Wendell Berry lurks there with several first editions - not, however, signed.

Dean Koontz, Clive Cussler, Dick Francis, Robert Parker -- first printings in pristine dust jackets for the picking.

Think gifts, think Christmas. Come browse. Find that perfect present early enough so that you have time to read it yourself.

I don't apologize for this week's musings being a flagrant commercial. A book unread is a voyage never taken.

Tom Chaney can be found telling stories, planning his next meal, and occasionally selling books at
Box 73/111 Water Street
Horse Cave, Kentucky 42749
Email: Tom Chaney
The Bookstore

This story was posted on 2011-11-13 07:22:33
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